To Solidify the Mist: Cp34

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To Solidify the Mist
Chapter Thirty-Four

Bectim’s Pond did not look like a body of water I wanted to go into, and definitely not something I would want to breathe. Algae covered the surface and slimy growths could be made out deeper in the water. The temperature of the pond was not a refreshing cold, but also not an inviting warmth. Heratin admitted the experience of going down into the pool would not be pleasant. Instead of recommending that we not go down, he pulled out some things from a pouch that he set into a scarf then instructed me to tie it around my face. Seeing him do the same then hearing him say that he would be with me, I set my mind to go into Bectim’s Pond.

I dove in with my sword in my hand. Feeling the slime pass over my body had me want to just hold my breath. Realizing that I was going to have to sink deeper into the water, I finally gulped what I had to hoping for air. It was a foul experience. There was then a sensation of expelling the rancid substance before taking my next gulp. While I wished Heratin’s protection could have done more, I did what I could to hold my breath and not take any more of the foul liquid into me than I needed to.

I really had not tried speaking, but was grateful to learn that I could when Heratin said, “Over there.”

We had been moving in complete darkness. Honestly, I had little desire to see anything. What I was breathing and feeling were things I did not want to experience visually. My goal had been to simply reach the bottom, then feel around without producing a light until there was something I felt worth seeing. Heratin however did something, I believe cast a spell, and a bright glow went before us dispelling the darkness along our route.

There was indeed a sarcophagus. Not just the stone coffin, but there was a stone slab and two walls all elaborately decorated. Along one edge of the stone floor was a crack from where I could tell the water issued with me sensing that should I force my way through the water would become clear as well as extremely warm. There was a power however taking the heat from the natural source and replacing it with things foul. As I examined the sarcophagus, Heratin tried to make sense of what we saw.

“This pond had to have been drained to erect this.”

I replied, “Yes, as Uncle Decholl cannot go into water.” I then pointed as I said, “There is a magic circle around the coffin. Some really horrible rite was worked here.”

“We need to break the magic. It probably won’t end the threat of Decholl, but it should remove a major source of his power. I’m not saying that we could then kill him, but he definitely would not recuperate so quickly.”

I looked around while simply acting, “Do you think just being destructive will do the trick?”

“Let’s be careful, Vernallor. This is powerful magic. Let’s look this over.”

Since I had been looking things over, I could voice a conclusion. “These are runes, not really any writing. They are specific to the magic being worked.”

“Just make certain not to overlook anything that might be important.”

Those words would have been the same thing Father would have told me. I thus started a detailed inspection of the carvings. Something at first I found interesting. I then saw the type of carving repeated with some scenes including the imagery. Suddenly, something made sense to me, and I swam back to get a good look at the place as a whole. Heratin looked at me clearly wondering what I was doing. Instead of words telling him, I however just started to laugh.

I reduced myself to only giggling, but as I swam back to examine things at a more intimate level I could not help but laugh. Finally, making sense of one of the longer scenes, I just rolled with the humor. Heratin just stared at me, and finally I reduced my chuckling to a level where I could explain myself to him.

“Tentacles. He thought, I guess they thought since I probably should include Mochsha’s father, that our father and the ocean fairy were evil because they had tentacles. That is why it was expected that Mochsha would be evil, because she was the child of an evil being and raised by an evil being.”

“That’s rich,” Heratin replied, “but you have to be wrong.”

He then began another examination of the runes, and I slowly heard him laughing as well. We began trading trivia about evil entities that we knew about, but the jokes that were also exchanged had us laughing so hard that we often were against a wall holding our stomachs from our bodies feeling nauseous having to breathe in the foul substance around us. We finally calmed ourselves, and set ourselves to studying the runes to determine the best way to break the magic.

I was glad to hear Heratin agree to try and save the sarcophagus. The man inside was surely Mochsha’s father, so should have the respect of a proper burial. I followed Heratin’s instructions in using our magic weapons to cut the runes on the stone wall, then destroy the magic circle. The water flowing around us became warmer and cleaner, with my breaths becoming hot refreshing gulps as carvings on the sarcophagus itself were defaced.

Soldiers were wading in the water to reach for us as we came to the surface. They cheered us mentioning the ability to tell that we had done something below. Since they knew who Orintious had as a father, as they would at times be stationed in one of our houses when a mission had them traveling to unusual worlds, they also found humor in what we had found. While the soldiers agreed with Heratin and me mentioning a desire for a bath, they wisely suggested that we should first reach our siblings and let them know what had been found.

There was a hope that we had actually removed the threat when we found ourselves no longer being threatened by bats. I found myself thinking that Heratin and I might have been successful as I saw only stars in the sky above without the light being blocked by a black covering. While we faced no threats, there was something in the air that had us all feeling that we were still in danger.

Soldiers called from around the house. We definitely did not mind our siblings being alerted to our return. Instead of meeting Orintious or Mochsha at the door, it was Nerframe that blocked my entrance.

“Vernallor, you’re filthy!”

I replied, “I would hope, Nerframe, that you would never refuse me a bath.”

“No. In fact, I was going to demand it of you and Heratin both.”

Heratin said, “Our only problem, Nerframe, is that I don’t think we are finished getting dirty.”

She stepped aside as Orintious and Mochsha came down some stairs calling our names. Honestly, the house was filthy with dust and pieces from years of accumulated minor damage to the objects inside. Heratin and I however stayed outside as Orintious and Mochsha fell to the floor with laughter upon hearing our report.

Our sister finally said, “Yes, thank you for doing what you could to preserve the sarcophagus. We can handle that detail later. Right now we still need to finally remove the threat of our uncle.”

Orintious supported her words by saying, “While certain creatures are not evil, Decholl definitely has turned himself to that direction. While he is family, it simply means that we must deal with him. It would not be right for us to force another to face our problem.”

Heratin asked, “Did the two of you find anything?”

Mochsha replied, “We were going over the journals, but it was only reports of normal activities. There are some words about Uncle Decholl having some strange ideas, but nothing that Orintious and I have been able to use to come up with any plan.”

With the humor having lost some of its power, we began a detailed discussion of what facts we had gained. It actually did not surprise us when we heard soldiers sound an alarm of the sky growing black. We all moved out however seeing the blaze of burning arrows flying up quite a distance away. Orintious did speak to his men of going to the rescue, but spoke of any rush to have us arrive too late. Having discussed the facts with the soldiers, I found myself surprised to hear a plea from my older brother.

“I need another idea, Vernallor.”

“Oh, give the kid a break,” Heratin replied. “Vernallor has done enough thinking for you Orintious.”

“Well, do you have an idea, Heratin?”

“No, but I’m going to do what Vernallor has been doing, stating the obvious. This is the house, Orintious. We are the threat – the real threat. Also, listen. Do you hear that? Those soldier – those regular men fighting with their regular weapons, are not losing.”

There was a period of silence where those that doubted Heratin’s words could hear the proof of them. Indeed there were no distant screams. There were yells of instructions. There were some calls for aid, but no horn sounding retreat or shrieks of men meeting their death. Mumbles of Heratin being right were slowly stated by the soldiers.

Orintious then asked, “So you are saying for us to wait?”

“Yes. He will be coming to us, because he has to come to us. He better while he still retains some of his original power. If he doesn’t, I will be having your men and those of the baron scouring this land looking for his hole, and we will bind him while he is at his weakest.”

Soldiers chuckled along with sounding out support for those words. Orintious had them sound off. After speaking of being pleased that no men had been lost, he then sounded out a simpler question.

“How long do you think we need to wait?”

Heratin yelled out, “Ochally!”

From the house came the answer, “Yes, Heratin?”

“I’m really filthy, Sweetie. I would appreciate you having a bath ready for me.”

“I heard what was said, Heratin. There is a well in the house, but it has a lot of clutter outside and inside. Once we can start raising some fresh water, we will get a fire going to get you some hot water.”

Heratin then said, “It sounds to me, Orintious, that Uncle Decholl can take a little time.”

We all went silent as a distant cheer sounded. I actually had a moment of thinking the baron’s military might have gained the victory instead of us. The sky however grew black with the soldiers around us setting themselves to facing our opponent. The baron’s men had sounded a cheer in driving off the threat upon them, but we set ourselves to picking up the battle.

Orintious stepped in front of his men while saying, “This fight needs to be over. I thank you men for all you have done and will do. However, this is a family matter, so should be left to me and my siblings. You have stood by us, supported us, and fought a fight that was not yours. You will be paid, and paid well. However, it is our fight to finish.”

Heratin stepped up while adding, “Yet, all of you know the conditions for bonuses. You must finish the job. If you see your moment, take it, as your purse will be heavier because of it. Still, Orintious is right. This is our battle.”

Mochsha put an arm around me as she said, “We move up as well, Vernallor. I have trusted you to protect me all this time, and I also am going to do what I can to finish this. I want you with me.”

I replied, “I would hug you, Mochsha, but I’m filthy.”

She embraced me while saying, “I plan on taking a bath as well, so might as well do things to deserve it. Come on, Vernallor, by my side.”

And the battle is joined.